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Regulation Adapting the Canada Elections Act for the Purposes of a Referendum

Part 19

ENFORCEMENT

Peace and Good Order at Referendums

Duty to maintain order
  • 479. (1) Every returning officer is responsible for maintaining order in his or her office during voting in accordance with Division 4 of Part 11.
Duty of other referendum officers
  • (2) Every deputy returning officer, central poll supervisor and person appointed under paragraph 124(1)(b) is responsible for maintaining order during voting hours at any place where voting takes place in accordance with Part 9 or 10.
Order to leave, arrest without warrant
  • (3) In performing his or her duty under subsection (1) or (2), a referendum officer may, if a person is committing, in the returning officer's office or other place where the vote is taking place, an offence referred to in paragraph 5(a), section 7 or paragraph 167(1)(a) of this Act or an offence under the Referendum Act or any other Act of Parliament that threatens the maintenance of order, or if the officer believes on reasonable grounds that a person has committed such an offence in such a place, order the person to leave the office or place or arrest the person without warrant.
Order must be obeyed
  • (4) Every person in respect of whom an order is made to leave an office or place must obey it without delay.
Power to eject
  • (5) If an order to leave an office or place is not obeyed without delay, the person who made it may use such force as is reasonably necessary to eject the person in respect of whom the order was made from the office or place.
After arrest
  • (6) The officer, supervisor or appointed person who arrests a person under subsection (3) shall without delay
    • (a) advise the person of the right to be represented by counsel and give the person an opportunity to obtain counsel; and
    • (b) deliver the person to a peace officer to be dealt with in accordance with the Criminal Code.
Removal of materials
  • (7) Where a returning officer, deputy returning officer, central poll supervisor or person appointed under paragraph 124(1)(b) believes on reasonable grounds that a person has contravened paragraph 166(1)(a) or (b), the officer, supervisor or appointed person may cause to be removed from, in the case of a returning officer, his or her office or, in the case of a deputy returning officer, central poll supervisor or appointed person, the polling station, any material that they believe on reasonable grounds was used in contravention of that paragraph.
Peace officer protection
  • (8) Every referendum officer has, while performing their duties under this section, all the protection that a peace officer has by law.

Offences

General Provisions

Obstruction, etc., of referendum process
  • 480. (1) Every person is guilty of an offence who, with the intention of delaying or obstructing the referendum process, contravenes the Referendum Act, otherwise than by committing an offence under subsection (2) or section 481 or 482 or contravening a provision referred to in any of sections 483, 484, 487 to 495, 498 and 499.
Public meetings
  • (2) Every person is guilty of an offence who, at any time between the issue of a writ and the day after polling day at the referendum, acts, incites others to act or conspires to act in a disorderly manner with the intention of preventing the transaction of the business of a public meeting called for the purposes of the referendum.
Offering bribe
  • 481. (1) Every person is guilty of an offence who, during a referendum period, directly or indirectly offers a bribe to influence an elector to vote or refrain from voting or to vote or refrain from voting for a particular answer to a referendum question.
Accepting bribe
  • (2) Every elector is guilty of an offence who, during a referendum period, accepts or agrees to accept a bribe that is offered in the circumstances described in subsection (1).
Intimidation, etc.
  • 482. Every person is guilty of an offence who
    • (a) by intimidation or duress, compels a person to vote or refrain from voting or to vote or refrain from voting for a particular answer to a referendum question; or
    • (b) by any pretence or contrivance, including by representing that the ballot or the manner of voting at a referendum is not secret, induces a person to vote or refrain from voting or to vote or refrain from voting for a particular answer to a referendum question.

Offences under Part 1
(Referendum Rights)

Offences requiring intent — dual procedure
  • 483. Every person is guilty of an offence who contravenes
    • (a) paragraph 5(a) (voting when not qualified or entitled) or 5(b) (inducing a person not qualified or entitled to vote, to vote); or
    • (b) section 7 (voting more than once).

Offences under Part 3
(Referendum Officers)

Strict liability offences — summary conviction
  • 484. (1) Every former referendum officer who contravenes paragraph 43(c) (failure to return referendum documents and referendum materials) is guilty of an offence.
Offences requiring intent — summary conviction
  • (2) Every person is guilty of an offence who
    • (a) being a returning officer, wilfully contravenes subsection 24(3) (failure to take promptly any necessary referendum proceedings); or
    • (b) contravenes subsection 43.1(1) (refusal to give access to building or gated community).
Offences requiring intent — dual procedure
  • (3) Every person is guilty of an offence who
    • (a) contravenes subsection 22(6) (acting as referendum officer knowing requirements not met);
    • (b) knowingly contravenes subsection 23(2) (communication of information for unauthorized purpose);
    • (c) not applicable;
    • (d) being a returning officer or assistant returning officer, wilfully contravenes section 31 (acting in another capacity);
    • (e) contravenes paragraph 43(a) (obstruction of referendum officer) or wilfully contravenes paragraph 43(b) (impersonation of revising agent); or
    • (f) being a former referendum officer, wilfully contravenes paragraph 43(c) (failure to return referendum documents and referendum materials).

Offences under Part 4
(Register of Electors)

  • 485. Not applicable.

Offences under Part 6 (Candidates)

  • 486. Not applicable.

Offences under Part 7
(Revision of List of Electors)

Offences requiring intent — summary conviction
  • 487. (1) Every person is guilty of an offence who contravenes
    • (a) paragraph 111(b) or (c) (applying improperly to be included on list of electors); or
    • (b) paragraph 111(f) (unauthorized use of personal information contained in list of electors).
Offences requiring intent — dual procedure
  • (2) Every person who contravenes paragraph 111(a), (d) or (e) (forbidden acts re list of electors) is guilty of an offence.

Offences under Part 8
(Preparation for the Vote)

Offences requiring intent — summary conviction
  • 488. (1) Every person who contravenes paragraph 126(b) (unauthorized printing of ballots) is guilty of an offence.
Offences requiring intent — dual procedure
  • (2) Every person is guilty of an offence who
    • (a) being a printer who is authorized to print ballots, wilfully contravenes subsection 116(5) (failure to return ballots or unused ballot paper); or
    • (b) contravenes paragraph 126(a) (forgery of ballot), 126(c) (knowingly printing extra ballot papers), 126(d) (printing of ballot with intent to influence vote) or 126(e) (manufacture, etc., of ballot box with secret compartment).

Offences under Part 9 (Voting)

Strict liability offences — summary conviction
  • 489. (1) Every person is guilty of an offence who contravenes
    • (a) being an employer, subsection 132(1) (failure to allow time to vote) or 133(1) (making deductions from employees' wages for time given to vote);
    • (b) section 165 (prohibited use of loudspeaker); or
    • (c) paragraph 166(1)(b) (wearing of emblems, etc., in polling station).
Offences requiring intent — summary conviction
  • (2) Every person is guilty of an offence who
    • (a) contravenes subsection 143(5) (vouching for more than one elector);
    • (a.1) contravenes subsection 143(6) (vouchee acting as voucher);
    • (a.2) contravenes subsection 155(2) (assisting as a friend more than one elector);
    • (a.3) contravenes subsection 161(6) (vouching for more than one elector);
    • (a.4) contravenes subsection 161(7) (vouchee acting as voucher);
    • (b) being an elector, contravenes subsection 164(2) (failure to maintain secrecy);
    • (c) contravenes paragraph 166(1)(a) (display of referendum literature in polling place);
    • (d) contravenes subsection 169(5) (vouching for more than one elector); or
    • (e) contravenes subsection 169(6) (vouchee acting as voucher).
Offences requiring intent — dual procedure
  • (3) Every person is guilty of an offence who
    • (a) being an employer, contravenes section 134 (preventing employee from using voting time);
    • (b) being a friend or relative of an elector, wilfully contravenes subsection 155(4) (disclosing for which answer to a referendum question the elector voted);
    • (c) being a referendum officer, an agent of a registered referendum committee or a witness, contravenes subsection 164(1) (failure to maintain secrecy);
    • (d) contravenes paragraph 166(1)(c) (influencing vote in polling station);
    • (e) contravenes any of paragraphs 167(1)(a) to (d) (prohibited acts re ballots) or 167(2)(a) to (d) (prohibited acts re ballots or ballot box with intent to influence vote);
    • (f) being a deputy returning officer, contravenes paragraph 167(3)(a) (initialling ballot with intent to influence vote); or
    • (g) being a deputy returning officer, contravenes paragraph 167(3)(b) (placing identifying mark on ballot).

Offences under Part 10
(Advance Polling)

Offences requiring intent — dual procedure
  • 490. Every person is guilty of an offence who
    • (a) being a deputy returning officer, wilfully contravenes subsection 174(1) (failure to permit person to vote);
    • (b) being a poll clerk, wilfully contravenes subsection 174(2) (failure to record vote); or
    • (c) being a deputy returning officer, contravenes section 175 (improper handling of ballot box and ballots at advance poll), being a returning officer, contravenes subsection 176(2) or (3) or, being a deputy returning officer, contravenes subsection 176(3) (failure to cross names off list of electors) with the intention of causing the reception of a vote that should not have been cast or the non-reception of a vote that should have been cast.

Offences under Part 11
(Special Voting Rules)

Strict liability offences — summary conviction
  • 491. (1) Every returning officer who contravenes section 275 (failure to take required measures re special ballots) is guilty of an offence.
Offences requiring intent — summary conviction
  • (2) Every person who contravenes any of paragraphs 281(a) to (f) (prohibited acts re vote under special voting rules) is guilty of an offence.
Offences requiring intent — dual procedure
  • (3) Every person is guilty of an offence who
    • (a) being a deputy returning officer, contravenes any of section 212, subsections 213(1) and (4) and 214(1), section 257 and subsection 258(3) (failure to perform duties with respect to receipt of vote) with the intention of causing the reception of a vote that should not have been cast or the non-reception of a vote that should have been cast;
    • (b) being a special ballot officer, contravenes any of subsections 267(1) and (2), section 268 and subsection 269(1) (failure to perform duties re counting of the vote) with the intention of causing the reception of a vote that should not have been cast or the non-reception of a vote that should have been cast;
    • (c) being a deputy returning officer or poll clerk, contravenes subsection 276(1), being a deputy returning officer, contravenes subsection 277(1), being a poll clerk, contravenes subsection 277(2), being a deputy returning officer, contravenes subsection 277(3), being a deputy returning officer or poll clerk, contravenes subsection 278(1) or (3) or, being a deputy returning officer, contravenes subsection 279(1) (failure to perform duties re counting of the vote) with the intention of causing the reception of a vote that should not have been cast or the non-reception of a vote that should have been cast;
    • (d) contravenes paragraph 281(g) or (h) (prohibited acts re special voting rules); or
    • (e) contravenes paragraph 282(a) or (b) (intimidation or inducement re vote under special voting rules).

Offences under Part 12 (Counting Votes)

Strict liability offences — summary conviction
  • 492. (1) Every returning officer who contravenes section 292 (failure to safeguard ballot box) is guilty of an offence.
Offences requiring intent — dual procedure
  • (2) Every person is guilty of an offence who
    • (a) being a deputy returning officer, contravenes any of sections 283 to 288 (failure to perform duties re counting of the vote) with the intention of causing the reception of a vote that should not have been cast or the non-reception of a vote that should have been cast; or
    • (b) knowingly contravenes subsection 289(3) (premature counting of votes cast at advance poll).

Offence under Part 13 (Validation of Results by the Returning Officer)

Offence requiring intent — summary conviction
  • 493. Every person who wilfully contravenes subsection 296(4) (failure to appear before returning officer) is guilty of an offence.

Offences under Part 15 (Return of the Writ)

Offences requiring intent — dual procedure
  • 494. Every returning officer is guilty of an offence who wilfully contravenes
    • (a) subsection 313(1) (failure to declare which answer to a referendum question obtained the largest number of votes); or
    • (b) section 314 (failure to transmit referendum documents).

Offences under Part 16 (Communications)

Strict liability offences — summary conviction
  • 495. (1) Every person is guilty of an offence who
    • (a) not applicable;
    • (b) contravenes subsection 326(1) or (2) (failure to provide referendum survey information) or, being a sponsor of a referendum survey, contravenes subsection 326(3) (failure to provide report on referendum survey results); or
    • (c) contravenes section 327 (failure to indicate survey not based on recognized statistical methods).
Offences requiring intent — summary conviction
  • (2) Every person is guilty of an offence who,
    • (a) being a landlord or a condominium corporation, wilfully contravenes section 322 (prohibition of referendum advertising posters on residential premises); or
    • (b) contravenes section 325 (removal of referendum advertising).
Offences requiring intent — summary conviction
  • (3) Every person who wilfully contravenes section 331 (inducement by foreigners) is guilty of an offence.
Offences requiring intent — fine only, summary conviction
  • (4) Every person is guilty of an offence who
    • (a) wilfully contravenes subsection 326(1) or (2) (failure to provide referendum survey information) or, being a sponsor of a referendum survey, wilfully contravenes subsection 326(3) (failure to provide report on referendum survey results);
    • (b) wilfully contravenes section 327 (failure to indicate survey not based on recognized statistical methods);
    • (c) wilfully contravenes subsection 328(2) (transmission of referendum survey results during blackout period);
    • (d) wilfully contravenes section 329 (premature transmission of the referendum results); or
    • (e) wilfully contravenes subsection 330(1) or (2) (foreign broadcasting);
    • (f) not applicable;
    • (g) not applicable;
    • (h) not applicable;
    • (i) not applicable;
    • (j) not applicable.
Offences requiring intent — dual procedure
  • (5) Every person is guilty of an offence who contravenes
    • (a) not applicable;
    • (b) subsection 328(1) (causing transmission of referendum survey results during blackout period).

Offences under Part 17
(Third Party Election Advertising)

  • 496. Not applicable.

Offences under Part 18
(Finance)

  • 497. Not applicable.

Offences under This Part (Enforcement)

Offence requiring intent — dual procedure
  • 498. Every person who wilfully contravenes subsection 479(4) (refusal to obey order to leave polling place) is guilty of an offence.

Offence under Part 21
(General)

Strict liability offence — summary conviction
  • 499. (1) Every person who contravenes subsection 548(1) (removal of posted referendum documents) is guilty of an offence.
Offences requiring intent — dual procedure
  • (2) Every person is guilty of an offence who
    • (a) knowingly contravenes subsection 549(3) (taking false oath) or 549(4) (compelling or inducing false oath);
    • (b) not applicable.

Punishment

  • 500. Not applicable.
  • 501. Not applicable.

Corrupt Practices

  • 502. Not applicable.

Miscellaneous Provisions

  • 503. Not applicable.
  • 504. Not applicable.
  • 505. Not applicable.
  • 506. Not applicable.
  • 507. Not applicable.
Evidence
  • 508. In a prosecution for an offence under the Referendum Act, the written statement of the returning officer is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, sufficient evidence of the holding of the referendum.

Commissioner of Canada Elections

Commissioner of Canada Elections
  • 509. It shall be the duty of the Commissioner of Canada Elections to ensure that the Referendum Act is complied with and enforced.
Chief Electoral Officer to direct inquiry
  • 510. If the Chief Electoral Officer believes on reasonable grounds that a referendum officer may have committed an offence against the Referendum Act or that any person may have committed an offence under section 488, paragraph 489(3)(g), section 493 and subsection 499(1), the Chief Electoral Officer shall direct the Commissioner to make any inquiry that appears to be called for in the circumstances and the Commissioner shall proceed with the inquiry.
Director of Public Prosecutions may prosecute
  • 511. (1) If the Commissioner believes on reasonable grounds that an offence under the Referendum Act has been committed, the Commissioner may refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions who shall decide whether to initiate a prosecution.
Information
  • (2) If the Director decides to initiate a prosecution, the Director shall request the Commissioner to cause an information in writing and under oath or solemn declaration to be laid before a justice, as defined in section 2 of the Criminal Code.
Search and seizure
  • (3) For the purposes of section 487 of the Criminal Code, any person charged by the Commissioner with duties relating to the administration or enforcement of the Referendum Act is deemed to be a public officer.
Director's consent required
  • 512. (1) No prosecution for an offence under the Referendum Act may be instituted by a person other than the Director of Public Prosecutions without the Director's prior written consent.
Exception
  • (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an offence in relation to which a referendum officer has taken measures under subsection 479(3).
Proof of consent
  • (3) Every document purporting to be the Director's consent under subsection (1) is deemed to be that consent unless it is called into question by the Director or by someone acting for the Director or for Her Majesty.
Commissioner may intervene
  • 513. The Commissioner, where he or she considers it to be in the public interest, may take any measures, including incurring any expenses, in relation to an inquiry, injunction or compliance agreement under this Act or the Referendum Act.
Limitation period
  • 514. (1) A prosecution for an offence under the Referendum Act may be instituted at any time but not later than five years after the day on which the Commissioner became aware of the facts giving rise to the prosecution but, in any case, not later than 10 years after the day on which the offence was committed.
Exception
  • (2) Despite subsection (1), if a prosecution cannot be instituted because the offender has left the jurisdiction of the court, the prosecution may be instituted within one year after the offender's return.
Commissioner's certificate
  • (3) A document purporting to have been issued by the Commissioner, certifying the day on which the Commissioner became aware of the facts giving rise to a prosecution, is admissible in evidence without proof of the signature or of the official character of the person appearing to have signed the document and, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, is proof of the matter asserted in it.
Allowance of costs
  • 515. (1) Any court of criminal jurisdiction before which a private prosecution is instituted for an offence against the Referendum Act may order payment by the defendant to the prosecutor of such costs and expenses as appear to the court to have been reasonably incurred in and about the conduct of the prosecution.
Prior recognizance required
  • (2) A court shall not make an order under subsection (1) unless the prosecutor, before or on the laying of the information, enters into a recognizance with two sufficient sureties, in the amount of $500, and to the satisfaction of the court, to conduct the prosecution with effect and to pay the defendant's costs in case of acquittal.
Costs of defendant
  • (3) In case of an information by a private prosecutor for an offence against the Referendum Act, if judgment is given for the defendant, the defendant is entitled to recover from the prosecutor the costs incurred by the defendant by reason of the proceedings, which costs shall be taxed by the proper officer of the court in which the judgment is given.

Injunctions

Application for injunction
  • 516. (1) If the Commissioner has reasonable grounds to believe that a person has committed, is about to commit or is likely to commit an act or omission that is contrary to the Referendum Act, the Commissioner may, during a referendum period, after taking into account the nature and seriousness of the act or omission, the need to ensure fairness of the referendum process and the public interest, apply to a competent court described in subsection 525(1) of the Canada Elections Act for an injunction described in subsection (2).
Injunction
  • (2) If the court, on application by the Commissioner under subsection (1), is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person has committed, is about to commit or is likely to commit an act or omission that is contrary to the Referendum Act, and that the nature and seriousness of the act or omission, the need to ensure fairness of the referendum process and the public interest justify the issuing of an injunction, the court may issue an injunction ordering any person named in the application to do one or both of the following:
    • (a) refrain from committing any act that it appears to the court is contrary to the Referendum Act; and
    • (b) do any act that it appears to the court is required by the Referendum Act.
Notice
  • (3) No injunction may be issued under subsection (2) unless at least 48 hours notice is given to each person named in the application or the urgency of the situation is such that service of notice would not be in the public interest.

Compliance Agreements

Compliance agreements
  • 517. (1) Subject to subsection (7), if the Commissioner believes on reasonable grounds that a person has committed, is about to commit or is likely to commit an act or omission that could constitute an offence under the Referendum Act, the Commissioner may enter into a compliance agreement, aimed at ensuring compliance with the Referendum Act, with that person (in this section and sections 518 to 521 called the "contracting party").
Terms and conditions
  • (2) A compliance agreement may contain any terms and conditions that the Commissioner considers necessary to ensure compliance with the Referendum Act.
Obligations of Commissioner
  • (3) Before entering into a compliance agreement, the Commissioner shall
    • (a) advise the prospective contracting party of the right to be represented by counsel and give him or her an opportunity to obtain counsel; and
    • (b) obtain the consent of the prospective contracting party to the publication of the agreement under section 521.
Admission of responsibility
  • (4) A compliance agreement may include a statement by the contracting party in which he or she admits responsibility for the act or omission that constitutes the offence.
Inadmissible in evidence
  • (5) The fact that a compliance agreement was entered into, and any statement referred to in subsection (4), is not admissible in evidence against the contracting party in any civil or criminal proceedings.
Effect of compliance agreement — no referral
  • (6) If a matter has not yet been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions when a compliance agreement is entered into, no such referral may be made for an act or omission that led to the agreement unless there is non-compliance with it.
Matter that has been referred
  • (7) If a matter has already been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, whether or not a prosecution has been initiated, the Director may — if, after consultation with the Commissioner, the Director considers that a compliance agreement would better serve the public interest — remit the matter back to the Commissioner so that it may be so dealt with.
Effect of compliance agreement
  • (8) When a compliance agreement is entered into, any prosecution of the contracting party for an act or omission that led to it is suspended and, unless there is non-compliance with it, the Director of Public Prosecutions may not institute such a prosecution.
Renegotiation
  • (9) The Commissioner and the contracting party may renegotiate the terms of the compliance agreement at the request of the Commissioner or contracting party at any time before it is fully executed.
Copy to be provided
  • (10) The Commissioner shall provide the contracting party with a copy of a compliance agreement, without delay after it is entered into or renegotiated under subsection (9). If the matter has been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commissioner shall also provide a copy of the compliance agreement to the Director.
If agreement complied with
  • 518. (1) If the Commissioner is of the opinion that the compliance agreement has been complied with, the Commissioner shall cause a notice to that effect to be served on the contracting party. If the matter has been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commissioner shall also provide a copy of the notice to the Director.
Effect of notice
  • (2) Service of the notice terminates any prosecution of the contracting party that is based on the act or omission in question and prevents the Commissioner from referring the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Director from instituting such a prosecution.
If agreement not complied with
  • 519. If the Commissioner is of the opinion that a contracting party has not complied with a compliance agreement, the Commissioner shall cause a notice of default to be served on the contracting party, informing him or her that, as the case may be, the Commissioner may refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions for any action the Director considers appropriate or, if a prosecution was suspended by virtue of subsection 517(8), it may be resumed. If the matter has been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commissioner shall also provide a copy of the notice to the Director.
Dismissal of proceedings
  • 520. The court shall dismiss proceedings against a contracting party if it is satisfied on a balance of probabilities that he or she has totally complied with the compliance agreement or, in the case of partial compliance and taking into account the contracting party's performance with respect to the agreement, is of the opinion that the proceedings would be unfair.
Publication
  • 521. The Commissioner shall publish, in the manner and form that he or she considers appropriate, a notice that sets out the contracting party's name, the act or omission in question and a summary of the compliance agreement.

Deregistration

  • 521.1 Not applicable.


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